This semester’s series of Friday Teach-Ins came to an end this week with Ryan Zastowney leading a discussion of the American Indian Movement.
According to Zastowney, there are two categories of misconceptions about American Indians.
“On one hand, Native Americans are viewed as savages who fight all the time, aren’t united, and don’t believe in one God. On the other hand, they’re viewed as noble savages living in the Garden of Eden like Adam and Eve,” Zastowney said.
Zastowney argued against these myths: “These are human beings that have lived on the continent for over three hundred years.”
In 1492, Native Americans occupied all of the United States territory, including Alaska and Hawaii. By 1820, Native Americans had lost control of all territories east of the Mississippi.
Those figures have continued to decrease today as a result of the Indian Reorganization Act under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the discovery of oil in the reservations.
“The solution is that people who want to live where they are now have to recognize the judicial sovereignty of Native Americans even if that having to change their lifestyles drastically,” Zastowney said.
Friday Teach-Ins will resume once again on Jan. 21 with Evan Hoffman, Julia Foley, Alison Huxta and others reporting on the demonstrations that will have taken place in Washington, D.C. during President Bush’s second inauguration.
Erin Schlesing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.